Posted 18.11.2021

On Friday 3rd December 2021 Disability Action will be marking International Day of Disabled People (IDDP) which is a global event with the overall aim of breaking down barriers to inclusion and advocate for the rights of disabled people.

This year the theme is ‘Fighting for rights in the post-COVID era” and Disability Action are raising awareness of the challenges and barriers that disabled people have faced due to COVID-19.  We are also acknowledging the resilience and courage that many disabled people have displayed throughout the pandemic. 

Since March 2020, everyone has experienced challenges, disruption and loss as a result of COVID-19. People who live with disabilities are among the most affected populations by the COVID-19 pandemic.

We are asking Councils and organisations throughout N.Ireland to take part in Disability Action’s ‘Purple Light Up’ – to shine a light on issues facing disabled people today.

To date many iconic buildings and landmarks across the region have agreed to participate in ‘Purple Light Up’.

We’re also calling on everyone to ‘Wear Purple’ on the 3rd of December to show your support for Disability Rights.

A survey undertaken by Disability Action regarding disabled people’s experience during COVID-19 in 2020 showed that 57% faced challenges in accessing food and medicine and 38% reported challenges with respect to caring commitments.

In June 2021, the Office for National Statistics Data published statistics which showed that 60% of deaths from coronavirus in the UK have been people with disabilities.

Disability Action are calling for measures to ensure that disabled people are fully engaged in planning processes for emergencies such as COVID-19.  This includes ensuring that disabled people have access to healthcare, food, security and legal protection.

Speaking in advance, Andrea Brown, Chief Executive of Disability Action said:

COVID-19 has had a severe impact on disabled people who have been among the hardest hit in terms of deaths due to COVID-19.  Current measures to protect disabled people are not enough and there is an urgent need for more and better support.

It is absolutely essential that disabled people have access to healthcare, food, an adequate stand of living and legal protection against discrimination.  I am calling for political and civic society and individual people to stand together in support of disabled people and to build a movement for change. 

You can do this by participating in the ‘Purple Light Up’ and by wearing purple on the 3rd of December to raise awareness of the challenges disabled people have faced during COVID-19 and as a mark of respect to those who died during the pandemic.


For further information please contact Nuala Toman, Head of Policy Disability Action on 07967 322639 or [email protected].



  1. Disability Action is the largest Northern Ireland wide pan-disability organisation working with disabled people with various disabilities: physical disabilities, learning disabilities, sensory disabilities, hidden disabilities and mental health disabilities.
  2. 1 in 5 people in Northern Ireland have a disability.
  3. Research undertaken by Disability Action regarding the experience of disabled people during Covid-19 showed that the crisis had a severe impact on disabled people. The findings of the report can be accessed here: